|The keys to the world|
In a quiet, darkened movie theater, a deep voice has the ability to transport you. "In a world," the disembodied voice somberly intones and you are instantly carried away to an adventure in a strange land, a crime spree from a time long since past, or into the agony of someone's heartache. From a young age, seeing that world that voice spoke about, that strange, faraway land, had always been a siren's call that I knew I would one day heed. A passport was going to be the lynchpin in that plan.
I have not been without a passport since my 15th birthday. Those little blue books, some bursting with colorful stamps and surly visa photos and others with just a few pages marked, have been my entry into a world far different than my own. My passport has allowed me into the home of a Turkish family in Istanbul, showing me the meaning of extending hospitality to a stranger. Through the permissions granted me by my passport, I have seen what it means to have hope in the face of nothing, watching the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, work with those who have truly been downtrodden. My passport has introduced me to the joy that is the laughter of Filipino children as they dash through the traffic-choked streets of Manila. It has also shown me darker things, like the toxic impact of Western culture on Bangkok, Thailand.
There is so much beyond our own neighborhoods. There is so much to see and enjoy in this world. With my passport, I have seen the inherent goodness of people no matter where I've been in the world. That goodness gives me hope.
If it seems like that came to an abrupt halt, it did. Such is the nature of being given a limited amount of time to craft a brief personal essay. This is one I'd like to continue to refine as seeing this world has been one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given.
Get out there, if you can. This world is still an amazing place.